Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Week 9: Apostle #4, Packing, and Orientation

Me and Brother Bradford, the 2nd Counselor in my MTC Branch Presidency

October 15, 2016

Hello friends! It was a pretty good week here...a good way to finish of my stay at the MTC!

On Sunday we had Fast and Testimony meetings, where the whole time is just given for people to bear testimony. Since we lost our Branch President last week, President Wiseman, and since it was the last testimony meeting for both we the Adriatic North people and the Polski missionaries. It's so cool how everyone here is having their own spiritual experiences and growing in different ways that they need. We got to see a little bit of that in our testimony meeting.

On Monday and Tuesday, our lessons with Jadranka went really well. We taught her about the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, and Law of Tithing (if you'd like to learn more about those, feel free to search them on LDS.org). Even though she asked some hard questions, and initially didn't think she'd be able to follow the Law of Tithing, Elder Leach and I did really well with explaining why they're important, and that following these commandments is an expression of our Faith. Since she's really developed a strong trust and Faith in Christ and that the Gospel is important for her, she did commit to keep those commandments. It was pretty cool to see her make those decisions.

Studying and getting ready to teach an investigator lesson
So, for our Tuesday devotional, we heard from Elder David A. Bednar, another one of the 12 Apostles. So, that makes 4 for us while we've been here! (that's an entire third!) Pretty cool. He mostly talked about how to get the most out of General Conference, but what I really got out of it was the real authority that God's servants have. He, as one of the 12 apostles in this day, has the authority to speak on behalf of Christ. When such a servant of the Lord promises blessings, they are sure. As a missionary, I've also been called to preach his word and speak on his behalf. When I'm speaking with the Spirit, to know what the Lord would have me say, I also can promise blessings that are sure, and have a miraculous ability to help those I meet. It's incredible. I've already seen it happen in lessons I've taught here at the MTC, or even talking to other missionaries.

On Wednesday we got new people! 3 new Croatians, 1 Bulgarian, and 1 Slovene (though he was apparently actually sick that day and only arrived yesterday). They're all super cool. We also got to talk to a lady, Sister Madsen, that has notable history in our mission. She personally knew Krešimir Ćosić, the man who first brought this gospel to Yugoslavia. Pretty cool to get to talk to her.

Sister Madsen, who was an ANM missionary in the early days of the mission
Thursday was In-Field-Orientation, which is something like 8 hours long. It's more in-depth training on what specifically happens in the field. How to best find people to teach, better work alongside church members, as well as setting effective goals. It was really long but pretty useful. That evening, a lot of us were losing our minds, due to our impending travel to another continent, and how long we'd been in orientation. (I'm fine. Don't worry)

In-Field Orientation was good, but really long
Yesterday, Friday, we had our last Skype lesson with a Croatian native. This one happened to be the branch president in Zagreb. He's such a cool guy. I'm super excited to get to meet more natives. For exercise, we got to show the new people what Australian Handball is all about. I really like getting to pass on zone traditions like that. Plus, when we did our elimination rounds at the end, I won again! It was a pretty intense last match between me and Elder Rasmussen (he's super good, and so I don't think anyone was expecting me to survive a 1-on-1 battle with him).

Lastly, we've begun packing. Our rooms are huge messes right now because of it, but soon they'll be condensed all into our suitcases. I'm really not looking forward to such a long flight, but it's easily made up for by how exciting it is to be going to Croatia (and eventually other countries) to go bring people unto Christ. Can't wait.
Taking a break from packing, which involved trying on some silly glasses.
 I hope you're all still doing well with your lives. Feel free to email me and tell me how life is for you, and I'll do my absolute best to respond on my next P-day when I can email.

Your homework this week is to read Mosiah 15, which talks about the Atonement, but also how we ought to "publish peace". Bring the love of Christ to everyone you can!

Volim vas!
-Elder Echols

P.S. My P-day is probably going to change to Mondays. And, my address is going to change, of course. I'll have my signature changed next week with the new address.​

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